Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Monday declared four directors of Sterling Biotech Limited as fugitive economic offenders in a bank fraud case, thereby paving the way for confiscation of their properties.
The company owners Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel were declared fugitives under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act in relation to Rs 8,100 crore bank fraud case.
The local Court permitted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to “reapproach the court for initiation of confiscation proceedings” under the FEO Act. In its orders, the Judge held “the conduct of the Respondents, unambiguously, establishes on record that they have left India to avoid criminal prosecution.”
A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
Earlier the ED had filed a charge sheet in this case, under the PMLA, charging the Sandesaras and others with money laundering and siphoning bank loans.
The ED alleged that the pharmaceutical group and its promoters laundered funds obtained through bank loans by “incorporating” shell or dummy companies, conducting circular transactions to artificially inflate turnover of flagship companies, claiming higher depreciations on non-existing machinery, artificial share trading with the use of shell companies and layering and laundering of proceeds of crime within India and abroad through the web of shell companies.